Development Control Committee
Wednesday, 20th May, 2009
DRAFT MINUTES PENDING CONFIRMATION AT THE NEXT MEETING
BATH AND NORTH EAST SOMERSET COUNCIL
MINUTES OF DEVELOPMENT CONTROL COMMITTEE
Wednesday 20th May 2009
PRESENT -: Councillor Les Kew in the Chair
Councillors: John Bull, Nicholas Coombs, Gerry Curran, Colin Darracott, Richard Maybury, Carol Paradise, Brian Simmonds (Substitute for Malcolm Lees), David Speirs (Substitute for Eleanor Jackson), Brian Webber, John Whittock and Steve Willcox
Also in attendance: Councillors Ian Dewey, Andy Furse, Loraine Morgan-Brinkhurst and Caroline Roberts
1 EMERGENCY EVACUATION PROCEDURE
The Committee Administrator drew attention to the emergency evacuation procedure as set out on the Agenda
2 ELECTION OF VICE-CHAIRMAN (IF DESIRED)
RESOLVED There was no vice-chairman elected.
3 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Councillor John Whittock declared a personal and non-prejudicial interest in the planning application relating to Newbridge Park and Ride/Bus Rapid Transit (Item 4, Report 10) as his son works for a company affected by the proposals. Councillor Carol Paradise declared a personal and non-prejudicial interest in the application at Newbridge Park and Ride/BRT as her brother-in-law's business was affected by the proposals.
4 TO ANNOUNCE ANY URGENT BUSINESS AGREED BY THE CHAIRMAN
There were no items of urgent business.
5 ITEMS FROM THE PUBLIC - TO RECEIVE DEPUTATIONS, STATEMENTS, PETITIONS OR QUESTIONS
The Committee Administrator informed the meeting that there were numerous speakers on all 4 planning applications on the Bath Transport Package the subject of this meeting and that the normal speaking time of a total of 3 minutes against a proposal and 3 minutes in favour would need to be extended. Recommended speaking times had been circulated on the Speakers List which were agreed by the Committee.
6 ITEMS FROM COUNCILLORS AND CO-OPTED MEMBERS
There were none notifed. However, Councillor Nicholas Coombs expressed his dissatisfaction with the Council Chamber being used as the venue for the meeting and an overflow room with a video link. This was noted.
7 MINUTES: WEDNESDAY 15TH APRIL 2009
RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday 15th April 2009 be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman
8 MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS
The Development Manager updated Members on the Bath Western Riverside development in that discussions were continuing with the developers, Crest Nicholson.
RESOLVED to note the report
9 APPLICATIONS FOR PLANNING PERMISSION ETC FOR DETERMINATION BY THE COMMITTEE - BATH TRANSPORT PACKAGE (Report 10).
The Committee considered
- The report of the Development Manager on 4 planning applications making up the Bath Transport Package
- An Update Report by the Development Manager on all 4 planning applications and attached as Appendix 1 to these Minutes
- Oral statements by members of the public etc on all 4 planning applications, the Speakers List being attached as Appendix 2
RESOLVED that, in accordance with their delegated powers, the applications be determined as set out in the Decisions List attached as Appendix 3.
NOTES: Decisions were made by the Committee as per the Officer's recommendations set out in the Report with the Agenda, and were carried unanimously or without dissension unless stated otherwise. Where the Officer's recommendations were overturned, or there were amendments whether lost or carried, or there were decisions on matters other than on planning applications, these are listed below.
Bath Transport Package
The Development Manager made a statement on the 4 planning applications which comprise the Bath Transport Package (a copy is included in the Minute Book). Councillor Gerry Curran disagreed with the advice that the Package couldn't be amended and stated that it was his understanding that there could be some flexibility with regard to the schemes contained within the Package.
Item 1 Odd Down Park and Ride Car Park, Odd Down, Bath - Proposed expansion by 230 spaces including associated landscaping and engineering works along with replacement of existing lighting and creation of a habitat area - The Case Officer reported on this proposal and his recommendation that permission be granted subject to Conditions. An Update Report was provided which contained responses from Combe Hay Parish Council and the Council's Ecologist, and the Officer's comment thereon. The public speakers then made their statements on the application.
Members asked questions about the proposal to which Officers responded as appropriate.
Councillor Gerry Curran considered that there were a number of benefits to be derived from this site being extended, including an improvement in air quality and reducing parking overspill in adjoining lanes, and therefore moved that permission be granted as recommended. This motion was seconded by Councillor John Bull. After a brief debate, the motion was put to the vote. Voting: unanimously in favour.
Item 2 Lansdown Park and Ride Car Park, Charlcombe, Bath - Proposed expansion by 390 spaces including associated landscaping and engineering works along with replacement lighting - The Case Officer reported on this proposal and his recommendation that permission be granted subject to Conditions. The Update Report clarified some wording in the report which mistakenly referred to Odd Down Park and Ride. The public speakers then made their statements on the application followed by a statement by the Ward Councillor Ian Dewey who supported the proposal.
Members asked questions about the proposal to which Officers responded as appropriate.
After receiving Officer clarification on the entry/exit to the site, Councillor Steve Willcox moved that permission be granted as recommended. This was seconded by Councillor Carol Paradise. After a brief debate, the motion was put to the vote. Voting: unanimously in favour.
Item 3 Proposed Park and Ride Site, Batheaston Bypass, Bath - Creation of a new park and ride facility, construction of a new central amenity building, new access off A4 Batheaston Bypass, ecological and management measures and associated landscaping and engineering works - The Case Officer reported on this application and his recommendation (A) that the Secretary of State be informed that the Council is minded to grant permission; and (B) in the event that the Secretary of State does not wish to determine the application, and subject to the satisfactory completion of the Appropriate Assessment in respect of any effect on the Special Area of Conservation, that the Development Manager be authorised to Permit the application subject to conditions. The Update Report contained a response by the Highways Agency which resulted in a recommendation to add further Conditions 15 - 25 and Informatives 3 - 5. There was also a comment on the Ecologist Officer's response, an amendment by the Highways Development Officer, and a reference to representations received. The public speakers then made their statements followed by a statement by the Ward Councillor Ian Dewey against the proposal.
The Development Manager made a statement giving advice on this proposal. Members asked questions about the application to which Officers responded as appropriate. It was queried whether alternative sites could be a material consideration and the Senior Legal Adviser and Case Officer responded accordingly. Councillor Gerry Curran commented on the application and considered that alternative sites had not been fully explored and therefore he would not be supporting the proposal. Councillor Steve Willcox considered that the benefits from a new park and ride facility on this side of the City outweighed the loss of the green open space, and therefore moved that permission be granted as recommended by Officers. This motion was seconded by Councillor Richard Maybury who spoke on the economic benefits to the City of this proposal.
Members debated the motion. The adverse views on the proposal by the Landscape Architect and Conservation Officer were quoted from the report. Some Members felt that the test as to whether the benefits clearly outweighed the harm had not been met. Some Members considered that other remedial options had not been fully explored such as limiting heavy lorries on Cleveland Bridge, parking restrictions, congestion charging etc. Cars needed to be kept out of the City as much as possible. Councillor Willcox concluded by saying that any alternative site would also prove to be controversial and that this site, with the benefit of landscaping, would prove to be the best site for a park and ride facility on the east side of Bath. The motion was then put to the vote. Voting: 9 in favour and 3 against. Motion carried.
(Note: At 5.20pm after this decision, there was an adjournment for Tea for 25 minutes)
Item 4 Newbridge Park and Ride Car Park, Newbridge, Bath - Expansion of existing Newbridge Park and Ride facility to provide 500 spaces, construction of a central amenity building, the construction of a bus transit system along with associated landscape and engineering works - The Case Officer reported on this application and his recommendation that permission be granted subject to Conditions. He advised Members that the fact that the implementation of the Bus Rapid Transit system (BRT) would involve the use of land currently forming part of some residential gardens along the route was a material consideration for Members. However, in assessing its weight, Members had to consider not just the effect of the loss of garden on the living conditions of the current residents but also the effect on future residents. The Case Officer advised members that the size of the remaining areas of garden would not be sub-standard and therefore he did not consider that this was a sufficient reason to refuse the application. Additional conditions and Informatives were recommended as a result of comments by the Environment Agency. The Update Report drew attention to an amendment required to be made to a reference in the report to the Local Transport Plan. The public speakers then made their statements on the application followed by statements by the Ward Councillors who spoke against the proposals - Loraine Morgan-Brinkhurst on the Park and Ride aspect, Caroline Roberts on the BRT aspect, and Andy Furse.
Councillor Carol Paradise stated that the BRT would create more pollution and would result in the loss of a natural play area. High acoustic fencing would block light and would not ameliorate the effect of buses close to residents' houses. More work needed to be done to the existing roads of Lower and Upper Bristol Roads.
The Development Manager gave advice regarding various issues raised about the BRT. There was potential for other public service vehicles to use the route but this was unlikely. The BRT was intrinsically linked to the Bath Western Riverside (BWR) proposed development since both the Local Plan and the BWR Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) had been adopted by the Council and it was envisaged that the BRT would be delivered in parallel with the BWR. The BWR Master Plan and the associated detailed site layout were given strong Member support and were both predicated on the BRT. This enabled BWR to utilise a low car ownership/low car provision strategy. In addition, substantial contributions were required from the developer of BWR toward the costs of providing the BRT. The Development Manager advised that the current details of BWR would have to be radically reconsidered if the BRT did not proceed. It would seem likely that a BWR scheme incorporating higher levels of car parking would not only fail to meet the housing targets established in the Local Plan and the SPD but would also overload the already congested highway network. Such a scheme would be contrary to the Council's adopted policies and would consequently be susceptible to third party legal challenge. The Development Manager advised that there was potential for other vehicles to use the BRT route but this was unlikely as they would need to meet the strict environmental standards required. She stated that ecology and flooding issues had been addressed in the Case Officer's report and that it was considered that the BRT route would not have a detrimental effect on the World Heritage Site. Acoustic fencing had been used successfully behind houses that adjoined the Peasedown Bypass. The siting of staggered bus stops at Station Road could be amended.
Members raised various other issues such as the route of the sewers beneath the BRT, the proposed bus stops at Station Road, traffic hold-ups on the Upper and Lower Bristol Roads, the fact that parts of Lower Bristol Road had been safeguarded for road widening for many years and the linking of the Newbridge Park and Ride extension with the BRT in the application. The Officers responded appropriately to the queries raised on these issues.
Councillor John Bull considered that, whilst he supported the principle of a segregated bus route, he also recognised the disbenefits of the proposal and he did not feel that Members had sufficiently detailed information before them on the wider benefits of the BRT. For example, Members had not been provided with empirical evidence such as modelling information on the journey time that would be saved by having a segregated bus route. He considered that in general there were too many unknowns and this made it difficult to decide whether the benefits outweighed the disadvantages of the scheme. He therefore moved to Defer consideration for further technical information on the advantages of the scheme. This was seconded by Councillor David Speirs. Members went on to debate the motion. Some Members considered that, without the BRT, there would be a detrimental effect on the economy of the City. In supporting deferral, one Member considered that travel times from Newbridge to Windsor Bridge at different times of the day needed to be provided. Another Member supported the Park and Ride but considered that the BRT was premature. Some Members wanted to see more details of matters that were to be approved at a later date pursuant to planning conditions. Councillor Curran stated that he would also like to be provided with more technical detail on what were the benefits of the BRT and he would therefore support a deferral. The Development Manager informed Members of the technical details that would be provided for Members' future consideration including journey times and details of matters which were currently the subject of conditions such as landscaping and details of bus stops. She reminded Members of the benefits of the BRT in terms of reliability and punctuality as well as speed since it would ease the pressure of anticipated traffic in the future. The motion was then put to the vote. Voting: 8 in favour and 3 against with 1 abstention. Motion carried.
Note: Members expressed their thanks to the Chairman and to Mike Muston, Case Officer, for the manner in which they had handled this item.
10 NEW PLANNING APPEALS, DECISIONS RECEIVED AND DATES OF FORTHCOMING HEARINGS/INQUIRIES (Report 11).
RESOLVED to note the report
11 CHANGE OF COMMITTEE DATE
RESOLVED to note the change of November Committee date from 25th to 18th
The meeting ended at 8.40pm
Date Confirmed and Signed
Prepared by Democratic Services